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EPA Issues Final Rule on Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures

Release Date: 12/14/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov (media only) All other inquiries: Oil Spill Program/EPCRA Hotline, 800-424-9346 (in D.C., call (703) 412-9810). The Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) Hotline number is 800-553-7672 (in D.C., call (703) 486-3323).

(Washington, D.C. - Dec. 14, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is amending certain requirements for facilities subject to EPA's Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. The SPCC regulations require covered facilities to prevent, prepare for and respond to oil discharges. The final rule will provide alternative compliance options for certain regulated facilities.

This final rule provides streamlined options for specifically qualified facilities and exemptions from the SPCC regulations for certain vehicle fuel tanks and other on-board bulk oil storage containers. EPA is also exempting mobile refuelers from the sized secondary containment requirements for bulk storage containers, and removing requirements for animal fats and vegetable oils that pertain to onshore and offshore oil production facilities, oil drilling and workover facilities.

In the final rule, EPA is also extending the compliance date for farms to either prepare and implement new SPCC plans or amend existing (maintained) SPCC plans and implement the amended plans until EPA publishes a future rule specifically addressing how farms should be regulated under the SPCC rule.

To provide the regulated community time to implement these modifications, as well as anticipated additional modifications, EPA is also issuing a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates to July 1, 2009 for owners and operators of facilities (with the exception of farms) to amend and implement an existing SPCC plan or in the case of new facilities, time to prepare and implement a new SPCC plan.

Nothing in the final rule and the proposed rule removes any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before Aug. 16, 2002 to have developed, implemented and maintained a SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such facilities continue to be required to maintain their plans during the interim until the applicable date for amending their existing plans and implementing their amended plans.

Information about the SPCC Rules: epa.gov/oilspill